Dzo – the stronger Yak

dzo1The Dzo is a cattle hybrid with the Yak, and is commonly found in Tibet and into Mongolia where they are also a popular hybridized breed. Technically speaking the Dzo is the male hybrid, the female is known as the zohm, or dzomo, additionally there are different spellings and different terms (yakow). The females, Dzomos, are fertile while the males, Dzos, are sterile. This species is noted to enjoy Hybrid Vigor, where the beneficial traits of both breeds are expressed in the hybrid and outweigh the harmful traits if any are present.

The Yak, Bos grunniens, is an animal commonly found in Tibet and as far north in Mongolia, however they are now listed as a threatened and vulnerable species due to pure bloodlines being lost to hybridization and the declining numbers of wild yak. Wild yaks are commonly upward of 2500lbs, and form herds of 10-30. Domestic yaks on the other hand weigh much less, usually maxing out at less than 1300lbs, while females of both are much smaller than the males (560lb max for domestic females, and 730lbs for wild females). They are crossed with the common domesticated cow (Bos primigenius Taurus). The domestic cow has been used for centuries for milk, production of cheeses, yogurts, and any dairy product, and is currently the most populous of the living bovines to date, with nearly a billion cows worldwide in recent estimations. They are a major backbone for economies all over the world, and their greatest population is in India. They are crossed with the Yak to create the Dzo hybrids.

The Dzo exhibit desirable traits of strength and health greater than the domestic cow and the yak, and are commonly employed for plowing and other heavy work, they are also highly prized and can be, using the females, interbred with either cattle, other yaks, to get the desired results for either milk production, meat production, or beasts of burden and labor. They are also used for milk production and meat, and in Mongolia they are prized for having a greater output of milk, which is used for many foods and cheeses, along with having more lean meat. They are commonly found throughout Tibet and into Mongolia. A closely related hybid is the crossing of a Yak with a Bison (American Buffalo), to create what is known as a Yakalo.

Picture of the Dzo by from Santa Fe, Turtle Island, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0

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